Nick started the Hands Off Our Hospital campaign in 2004 in response to the then Labour Government's plans to downgrade Chase Farm Hospital. Nick opposed the BEH Clinical Strategy which recommended replacing 24-hour A&E with an Urgent Care Centre and consultant-led maternity with a midwife-led unit.

On becoming an MP Nick continued to campaign against changes at Chase Farm. In March 2011 he led a cross-party delegation to meet Health Secretary Andrew Lansley, the result of which saw Enfield Council given the opportunity to produce a plan to rival the BEH Clinical Strategy and save services at Chase Farm.

The Independent Reconfiguration Panel (IRP) ruled that the council's plan "does not provide any credible alternative to the current proposals" and therefore backed the BEH Clinical Strategy. Health Secretary Andrew Lansley endorsed their decision, leading Nick to criticise both the IRP and the Health Secretary, saying "I'm disappointed by the IRP's decision. Frankly I think it's the wrong decision. Chase Farm Hospital should have a 24-hour A&E unit, end of story. I also think the Secretary of State is wrong to endorse the IRP's decision".

In September 2013 the Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Clinical Commissioning Group gave the go-ahead for the BEH Strategy, and with it the downgrading of Chase Farm - despite not all of the IRP's pre-conditions being met. Nick said it was the wrong decision and gave his support to Enfield Council challenging the decision in court by a judicial review. 

This challenge was rejected by the High Court on 12 November 2013 and the downgrade of A&E and maternity services will now go ahead.

Nick still maintains that Chase Farm should have a 24-hour A&E unit and consultant-led maternity services.

24 MAR 2011

Ball in council's court after joint effort on Chase Farm

As regular vistitors to my website will know, this month I led a cross-party deputation of Enfield MPs, the Leader of the Council and the Chair of the Health Scrutiny panel to meet the Secretary of State for Health, Andrew Lansley. I wanted us to have the chance to press the case at the highest level that cuts to Chase Farm hospital should not go ahead.

Cuts to A&E and maternity have been put forward in the BEH Clinical Strategy – the plan that was halted by Andrew Lansley and which he said could only go ahead if it met his four tests. With NHS London and other health bureaucrats arguing that the tests had been met and that the cuts should go ahead, we had to pull together and fight Enfield's corner.

After our deputation - in which we argued the four tests had not been met - the Health Secretary has thrown Chase Farm a lifeline. Andrew Lansley recognised that there was a large body of opinion in Enfield that options other than the BEH Strategy should be looked at. He has therefore opened the door for Enfield council, with help from the Department of Health, to work up a new plan for the reconfiguration of hospital services in the borough within four weeks.

This is not to be confused with another consultation. It is not. It is a chance to produce an alternative plan to the , with Enfield council working with the emerging consortia of Enfield GPs and our local hospitals. Under the last government we never had that chance.

I promised at the election to make Chase Farm my number one priority and I'm delighted that Chase Farm has been given a lifeline in this way. What we saw last week was politicians from both the Conservatives and the Labour party working together for the benefit of the people of Enfield. I was proud to lead this.

As council leader Doug Taylor said to the press after the meeting, "the ball is in our court". I urge Cllr Taylor and his colleagues running the council to leave no stone unturned in finding a way for vital services to be retained at Chase Farm.

Enfield LINk have launched an interactive blog for residents to have their say on the plans.

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